Help Me! (Yet another docs hackfest blog post.)

Over the past couple of years, I’ve tried to sit down and do some work with the awesome GNOME docs team on a number of occasions, but something always seemed to get in the way. So I was really happy to be able to spend three days with them at this week’s documentation hackfest.

One of the things I looked at during the hackfest was the design of Yelp, our help application. Shaun McCance and I talked about how we can make it more consistent with our other GNOME 3 style applications, and we’ve also been working on designs for an improved “start screen” – so that the content of the help browser looks more engaging.

Help Start Screen

Documentation isn’t always about “help”. To me, our documentation is an opportunity to let people learn about the functionality we provide, to master tips and tricks that will help them be more productive, and find out about the cool new features that have recently been added. As work progresses on the help, I hope that these other aspects of the documentation start to come through more strongly.

The hackfest also gave me an opportunity to participate in some interesting discussions about developer documentation. Documentation is obviously an important part of the GNOME application developer experience, and is something that we really need to improve if we want to stimulate the creation of great applications for GNOME. These conversations generated some pretty cool ideas about how to quickly create helpful developer documentation, and how to tie our existing documentation together in a more cohesive way. I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to take those ideas forward in the coming weeks and months.

Many thanks to the University of East Anglia for providing a great venue. The Ziggurats are awesome.

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